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Nintendo Game Cube

Name: Game Cube
Made By: Nintendo
Price: $99.99
Includes: 1 controller, Audio/Video cables, power cord.
Does NOT include games, RF adapter.
 

What It Is:

The newest piece of hardware from Nintendo is the Game Cube, released November 18, 2001. It now retails for $99.99, that's $80 less than the Playstation 2 or XBox ($100 less than the Playstation 2 with network adaptor), and it's geared for the younger gamer, pre-teen to teenager.

Designed from the ground up as a gaming only platform, The Game Cube uses a new format for games, that of a 3 inch custom disc. The games are very similar to a DVD in many respects. However because a standard DVD movie is 5 inches wide they will not be able to play in the Game Cube. A special chromed edition of the Game Cube has been developed by Panasonic for sale in Japan only. This edition is large enough to play back DVD movies as well as Game Cube games, however Panasonic has repeatedly said that it will never go on sale in the United States. This is due to region constraints as well as a considerably higher asking price.

The Cube itself is very small, comes in three designer colors (black, purple and silver) and features a handle on the back for easy carrying. Third party companies have released portable video screens which attach to the top of the Cube allowing kids on long car trips to take their favorite games with them on the road. It's also be possible to connect the Gameboy Advance to the controller ports on the front of the machine for games that can play on both machines.

Unlike the more expensive Playstation 2 package, XBox or Dreamcast there is no built in way for the Game Cube to go online. Nintendo did release both a standard 56K modem as well as a fast network adapter to go online either with standard phone lines or a broadband internet connection. However neither device (as of this writing) is currently available and even when they were there was only one game, Phantasy Star Online, that supported them.

It's also important to note that no system for the past several years will plug directly in to some older television sets. They all use 3 wires, one for video (usually a yellow plug) one for left hand audio (white plug) and one for right hand audio (red plug.) If you look on the back of your television and see either 2 screws (really old televisions) or a single jack with screw threads on it, then you will need an added device to use ANY of these machines on your set. This device is called an RF adapter, it will connect either to the two screws or to the threaded jack and allow you to play games through the older set.

In most cases your VCR will already have the correct connections on the back and all you have to do is connect the game machine to the VCR.

So what should I buy?

I would reccomend buying the Game Cube ($99) along with a game (more on those later), some games will require a memory card so you may as well get one up front. If there's more than one game player at home you might want to get a second controller. I advise buing the Nintendo controllers, that way you don't have people fighting over "the good one".

If you have an older set then you'll want an RF adapter.

UPDATED! 9/26/2003! Nintendo has released a Gameboy Advance Player for the Gamecube. This device will attach below the Gamecube and allow you to play all existing Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance games on the Gamecube. It's runs about $50. This should be a no-brainer add on. It will allow you to play literally THOUSANDS of new games on the Gamecube.

GAMES!

Game Cube games are geared toward an younger audience and most should be good for all ages. That may change with the release of an updated version of "Resident Evil", one of the titles that puts the "M" in "Mature".

The must have titles right now include Rogue Leader (that's the new "Star Wars" game), and Pikmin. Many people have also enjoyed Luigi's Mansion but I found it to be fairly tedious. Super Smash Brothers Melee was just released and it looks to be the must own game so far. It's a beat-em-up game with all your favorite Nintendo characters from Mario to Pikachu. Sega's Super Monkey Ball is pretty much the ideal party game. The newest must have title, Eternal Darkness is an incredible adventure game, but like Resident Evil it's intended for mature audiences.

New titles for the Christmas 2002 shopping season include Starfox Adventures, Metroid Prime, Mario Sunshine and my personal favorite, Resident Evil: 0

Why NOT to buy?

There are valid reasons for not owning an Game Cube. Nintendo has always been slow to release quality titles and it looks like the Cube will be no exception. The library of games for the Cube is the weakest of all machines right now (there are even more games for the Gameboy Advance right now.)

They also have a reputation of producing games for children rather than adults. This certainly won't hurt you on a quality title like "Rogue Leader", which has a universal appeal, but the eventual onslaught of games based on "The Olsen Twins" may frustrate older gamers. The controller also seems designed for hands much smaller than my own, but that's my problem. :^)

Then there is the issue of DVD playback. The Game Cube WILL NOT play DVD movies. If this is important to you then you should get either a Playstation 2 or an XBox. It should be noted though, for the price of a Playstation 2 or an XBox you could buy a Game Cube and a low end DVD player combined.

I'm sure a lot of people will also decry the price cut to $99. While this can only be good news for consumers many will portray it as evidence of the over-all weakness of the platform.